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Race and Ethnicity in the Book “Divergent Social Worlds” Essay

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Updated: Apr 17th, 2019

Race and ethnicity have been a topic for a variety of surveys for many decades. Many researchers have provided data on particular areas. It is necessary to note that many studies have shown that there is certain correlation between ethnic structure of communities and the rate of crime within the communities.

However, the conclusions drawn were based on quite limited data so their relevance has been questioned. Peterson and Krivo provide in-depth analysis of the matter in their book Divergent Social Worlds. In this book, the authors focus on the correlation between ethnicity and crime in urban areas across the United States.

The relevance of the present research is evident as the authors provide extensive empirical evidence to support their theoretical argument. Peterson and Krivo argue that race and ethnicity “fundamentally shape the experience of urban residents, including their exposure to crime” (1).

Peterson and Krivo employ several theories to support their claim. For instance, the authors exploit structural race theory and claim that urban areas are still characterized by certain kind of segregation as three major ethnic groups (i.e. whites, African Americans and Latinos) have different opportunities. The authors argue that these groups live in socially instable communities, which leads to the increased rates of crime.

They rely on social disorganization theory to stress that social instability is associated with crime in communities as people have no tools to diminish crime (Peterson & Krivo 35). The authors also employ social theory to highlight “structural conditions that produce” certain gaps between different racial groups (Peterson & Krivo 20).

Peterson and Krivo argue that the major factor contributing to the existing racial composition of communities is segregated nature of the American society where Latinos, Asians and especially African Americans are deprived of many opportunities. The authors state that whites tend to get better jobs and higher salaries. They also get more loans and financial aid compared to other ethnic groups.

This leads to low income in families of such racial groups as African Americans and Latinos, which, in its turn, leads to few educational opportunities for children and limited opportunities to move to better neighborhoods.

Notably, the authors refer to a number of theoretical frameworks to support their claims, which makes the book an important and reliable source concerning racial stratification of urban areas and crime rates associated with this stratification.

Apart from extensive theoretical background, the book in question is characterized by sufficient amount of empirical evidence. It is necessary to note that many surveys have been carried out to analyze correlation between racial structure of communities and crime rates. However, previous research tends to focus on quite limited number of residents and communities.

Kubrin states that the authors have carried out a number of surveys on the matter and the book under consideration is a “culmination of decades of work” (119). Peterson and Krivo provide an in-depth analysis of urban population of 91 big cities, which includes 9,593 neighborhoods. Each city included in the study has population of more than 100,000 people.

The cities were chosen randomly. The authors use the data revealed in the National Neighborhood Crime Study. The researchers obtained crime data from police departments which enabled the researchers to get information on particular communities within the cities studied (Peterson & Krivo 41).

Importantly, these sources were chosen as other resources of information on crime (the Federal Bureau of Investigations) provide data on entire cities rather than on particular communities or neighborhoods (Peterson & Krivo 41). The authors draw specific conclusions and provide a variety of diagrams and tables which illustrate these conclusions. This is very important as it helps readers better perceive the information.

One of the findings is concerned with the segregation value. The researchers note that segregation value affects violence rates in communities. Communities where segregation value is higher are also characterized by higher rates of violence (Peterson & Krivo 73).

The authors also provide certain data that explain distribution of wealth in communities. For instance, Peterson and Krivo state that in the 1990s middle-class white families got 4 times as many loans as “middle-class black neighborhood” (31). Clearly, different communities had different funding which led to further segregation.

It is necessary to note that the book under analysis is a valuable source which provides in-depth insights into the terrain of the correlation between crime rates and race stratification in urban settings. The researchers identify specific goals of the research. They claim that there is a specific correlation between the racial structure of the community and the crime rate in the area.

The researchers manage to achieve their goal as they provide both theoretical and empirical evidence to support their claim. Importantly, the authors start with theoretical frameworks to unveil the relation between crime rates and racial structure of communities. The authors provide brief analysis of the existing research in the area.

They note that the research is not enough as researchers tend to focus on quite limited number of people or communities which can be regarded as insufficient for drawing conclusion in terms of the entire country. At the same time, the authors point out that they have also researched specific areas previously.

The extensive data accumulated and data of the National Neighborhood Crime Study enabled the authors to provide appropriate empirical evidence to support their claim. The authors cover significant population which is enough to draw conclusions in terms of the USA. Therefore, they manage to accomplish the major aim of the research.

It is also important to note that the authors do not only reveal certain facts, they also identify the causes of the specific trends. Thus, the authors state that white communities have received more funding throughout decades while African American as well as Latinos and other ethnic groups within communities have got insignificant monetary aid.

The authors also stress that lack of opportunities leads to increased crime rates as people fail to find the ways to provide for their families. Young people also fail to see prospects as they are confined to follow their parents’ path, i.e. the path of low-paid workers. These conspicuous examples help understand how and even why crime rates and racial structure of communities are related.

Therefore, it is possible to state that the authors managed to achieve their goal and unveil the correlation between crime rates and racial structure of urban communities and reasons for the correlation. They provide sufficient data which justify relevance of the authors’ arguments.

Thus, the book in question is a comprehensive analysis which shows that previous studies on the matter can be regarded as relevant. The book can also become a basis of the further research aimed at developing ways to diminish racial segregation in the country.

Works Cited

Kubrin, Charis E. “Book Review: Divergent Social Worlds.” City & Community 11.1 (2012): 119-121. Print

Peterson, Ruth D. and Lauren Joy Krivo. Divergent Social Worlds: Neighborhood Crime and the Racial-Spatial Divide. New York, NY: Russell Sage Foundation, 2010. Print.

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IvyPanda. 2019. "Race and Ethnicity in the Book “Divergent Social Worlds”." April 17, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/race-and-ethnicity-3/.

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IvyPanda. (2019) 'Race and Ethnicity in the Book “Divergent Social Worlds”'. 17 April.

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